The FOX Corporation,
EPA Hill, Bexford
“Good morning, sir,” Evelyn’s eyes widened as she opened the door and found Mark standing right at the entrance.
“Good morning Agent Evelyn. Thank God I met you,” Mark gasped. “Can we go in for a minute?”
“Of course, sir,” Evelyn replied and stepped back in. Mark followed in.
She dropped her handbag on the table.
“Sorry to bother you, I know you must be very tired already,” Mark began.
“It’s no problem, sir.”
“I think there’s a problem and I need to reach Carl Winston right away,” Mark said to her.
“He should still be in Anthanna, have you tried calling his number?” Evelyn asked.
“Yes, I have. It’s not connecting. That’s why I’ve come to you.”
“Maybe he’s busy and unable to talk now. Don’t you think he’ll reach you later?” Evelyn squinted slightly at him.
“This can’t wait, Evelyn. I need to reach him now,” Mark insisted.
Evelyn was more confused. She squinted deeper at his face and wondered what it was Mark needed to tell Henry that was so urgent. But since it didn’t look like he wanted to tell her what the problem was, she couldn’t ask.
“Ermm, if you can’t reach him on that number. I may also not be able to reach him.”
“You don’t understand what’s happening,” Mark brushed his hair backward with his hand and then pulled out the visitor’s chair to sit. “From the forensics result, it’s 95% possible that Dexter Joe’s fingers were cloned. What that means is the Red Wolves have his fingerprints and their plan is still intact.”
“What?” Evelyn gasped and her eyes widened in horror. She walked back to her seat and sank into the chair.
“I guess that’s the damn reason the man was made unconscious. So he could never tell us what they did to him,” Mark added.
“I’m not so sure I can reach Carl directly now,” Evelyn opened her handbag hurriedly to take out her phone. She unlocked it and began to search through her contact list. “There’s a toll-free forwarding number I could use to reach the team’s computer expert.”
“Please, reach him quickly.”
Evelyn finally found the number and dialed it immediately. A few seconds later, Maxwell answered the call.
“Hey, Evelyn. Do we have something new from you?”
“I need to reach Henry right now,” Evelyn replied.
“I’m sorry, dear. He can’t be reached at the moment.”
“I’m not f***ing joking, man. You need to connect me to him.”
“I’m serious, Henry can’t be reached at the moment. None of us can reach him until he does.”
“What the f*** do you mean?”
“Henry has gone to Nigeria.”
“Nigeria? What’s happening in Nigeria?”
“Henry’s wife and kids are alive,” Maxwell replied. “He found out and he’s gone to get them.”
“What?” Evelyn couldn’t believe her ears.
“He left immediately for Nigeria without having the time to address the rest of us. Only Jennifer who was with him knew and relayed the message to us,” Maxwell explained further. “Is there something I need to know?”
“Yes,” Evelyn gasped. “We have reasons to believe that Dexter Joe’s fingers may have been cloned, which means they’ve got his fingerprint to activate the explosive device.”
“F**k!” Maxwell cursed and then went quiet for a while.
“You need to tell Henry this immediately,” Evelyn urged him again.
“As I said already, we cannot reach Henry at the moment. But I’ll let Jennifer know about this and we’ll make sure he gets the messages immediately he reaches out to any of us. If the FOX has any hints concerning the exact location we’re looking for, please let us know immediately.”
“Alright,” Evelyn replied and ended the call.
From Evelyn’s replies to the other person, Mark could already tell that there might be some problems reaching Carl. But he still stared at her anxiously, waiting to hear a confirmation from her.
“Carl Winston is in Nigeria,” Evelyn relayed to him.
Mark had already heard that from her conversation and was impatient to hear something else. “What else?”
“They can’t reach him now because he left suddenly…”
Mark arched his eyebrows and his eyes pierced through hers.
“He found out that his wife and child are alive and he’s gone to get them,” Evelyn explained.
“Oh!” Mark exclaimed and leaned back. “I thought they were dead.”
“I thought they were too until I heard that now,” Evelyn added. “Unfortunately, that means we can’t reach Henry right now. The only way to prevent this disaster would be to find the specific building they’re launching from. And we need to do it quickly.”
“But that’s gonna be impossible,” Mark sounded hopeless for a second.
Evelyn flashed a quick look at him.
“Except we get licenses to carry out the proper search, it will be difficult to know where they’re launching from until it is done,” Mark added, staring blankly at the wall thoughtfully.
“So, what are we going to do?”
Mark stayed silent for a few more seconds, brainstorming. After almost 90 seconds, he got up. “You should go home, freshen up and return as soon as possible.”
“Sir?” Evelyn got up, hoping to get more answers from him but he turned and walked out of the office immediately.
“Damn it, we’ve been played!” Maxwell cursed after ending the call with Evelyn.
“Tell me what the heck it is,” Dave who was driving urged him again, after asking first while he was on call.
“The Red Wolves had Dexter Joe’s fingerprints all this while. They made clones of his fingers as discovered by the FOX.”
“What the f**k!” Dave slammed his fist on the steering wheel in anger. “We’ve been deceiving ourselves thinking that we’ve done something to disrupt their plans. But we’ve done nothing. We need to find that damn location immediately.”
“That might be too late, Dave. It’s too late,” Maxwell gasped, looking into his tablet device on his lap. The explosion will likely take place today, and we don’t know when. We still have 21 locations to check. The four of us will never be able to check up to 10 more today.”
“We need to keep trying, man. We need to keep trying,” Dave slammed his fist on the wheel again. “Place a call to Samantha and let them know we’re running out of time already.”
Samantha and Paul had just finished observing a location and were heading to another. She was driving the car and Paul was sitting right beside her.
Her phone began to ring and she took her eyes off the road for a second to check the screen. She hissed on seeing the caller.
“You should take that,” Paul said to her after looking at the screen too.
“He knows I’m driving, he should have called yours if he had something important to say,” She replied stubbornly.
The phone stopped ringing and began again after a few seconds. Paul stared at her firmly until she was uncomfortable with it.
“You can take it for me,” she finally said.
He picked up the phone and answered, placing it on loudspeakers. “Hey, Max. She’s listening to you.”
“We’re out of time, guys. I got a call from Evelyn and she told me that the FOX has discovered that Dexter Joe’s fingers were cloned which means that the Red Wolves have his fingerprints to activate the explosion.”
“What the f***!” Paul exclaimed.
“We gotta find that building now or everything fails.”
Sheila yawned and stretched tiredly in the bed, feeling hesitant to get up. After some more minutes of rolling from side to side in the bed, she finally reached for her phone, hoping she had not missed an important call while she slept.
She heaved a sigh of relief after seeing that there was no missed call notification but opened the messaging app immediately as there were three unread messages. Two of the messages were from her network provider while one was from Henry. She opened the message from Henry first.
Hey, Sheila! By the time you’re reading this, I would be on my way to Nigeria or might have landed in the country. Sarah and Kellar are alive. I just discovered that they have been held captive in a monastery in Nigeria. Foden is with me and we will both stop Rex from hurting my family.
Sheila held her breath as she read the SMS. She sat up immediately after reading to the end. At first, she did not understand the message and was trying to remember who Sarah and Kellar were. It took her a while before she realized that they were Henry’s wife and son. She was confused.
How could that be possible? She thought. Henry had told her that his wife and son were burnt to death in a house right in front of him. How then were they alive?
After a few seconds of thinking, she navigated to her call register and dialed Jennifer’s number. The call was answered almost immediately.
“Hey, Sheila,” Jennifer hailed from the other end.
“Good morning, Jennifer. What is this text message about Henry’s wife and son?”
“It’s true,” Jennifer replied. “Foden showed him proof that his wife and son were alive. Rex is going after them and we’re yet to know why.”
Sheila heaved a sigh, still surprised by the revelation. “That’s crazy…” she stammered. “What happens to the mission to stop the Red Wolves?”
“We will move on with it as planned,” Jennifer replied. “Henry promised to join us as soon as he stops Rex.”
“Okay,” she gasped and ended the call.
After staring blankly for a while, she picked up her phone to read the message again.
For some reason, she felt heartbroken after reading the message. She couldn’t tell why, but she felt like she had just lost something dear to her. She fell back into the bed and grabbed her pillow for comfort.
Her mind traveled back to the first time she met Henry. She was on a project with the government at that time. She remembered giving him the name ‘Henry’ after he had lost his memory. All that seemed like a painful memory all of a sudden and she wished she had never met him.
A tear rolled down her face and dropped on the pillow. She wiped her face quickly and sat up. She dragged in a breath and cleared her throat. It was then she realized that she was being selfish. If Henry’s wife and child were alive, she should be happy for him instead after knowing how much their supposed death hurt and haunted him.
Nevertheless, she still felt some grief and was unable to get it off her mind.
Hutton walked into a large room where six men were sitting behind different computers, monitoring different sections of their targeted locations.
“Gentlemen, we’re gonna be striking in the next two hours, is there something I need to know now?” Hutton asked them as he entered.
Immediately, two hands from the same corner went up.
“There’s something you need to see, sir,” one of the men said.
Hutton walked towards the man who raised his hand and spoke. The second man was the closest of the other five men to him.
“Do you guys have different issues or it’s the same?” Hutton asked.
“It’s basically the same, sir,” the first man replied again.
Hutton stopped behind him and folded his arms, looking into the computer screen. A frown formed on his face.
“There’s a heavy FOX presence at the second location. We don’t know what they’re there for but I think they may want to move the man out of the location” the man explained what was already clear to Hutton.
“Keep your eyes on every of their f***ing moves,” Hutton thundered. “They can’t take him too far in the next one hour, which means they cannot escape the explosion.”
He went silent for a while and then added again before turning to leave. “Make sure you watch each of their moves.”
He had yet to get to the door when the men called his attention again.
“They’re moving already,” the man announced, raising his hand again.
“The president has just been put in one of the FOX vehicles, and they’re moving out.”
“I’ll be back again in thirty minutes, put a call through if you have additional information,” Hutton said before stepping out of the room.
“Have you eliminated the danger already?” The President asked after joining Agent Mark in the backseat of the jeep.
“Not yet, your Excellency. We hope it gets done today. But your location has been compromised at this time and we have to move you out to a safer place.”
“I’m damn tired of this, Chairman Mark. It’s like you placed me under house arrest. I’m supposed to be outside running things in the country but I’m locked in here for something you aren’t even sure is true. That’s gotta be one of the silliest security guesses I’ve ever heard this country make.”
“This is just to protect you, sir. At the end of today, you will realize that all we’ve said is true. But we need to be careful with our decisions. Otherwise, a simple mistake can make everything crumble at once.”
“Where the heck are you taking me to now?”
“To one of our safe houses,” Mark replied. “But we’re going to drive you straight to the Presidential Villa first. You’d be allowed to take one or two important items and also choose a trusted security staff member of the Presidential Villa. The FOX is going to be responsible for guarding the safe house.”
“I really do hope that you’re not making a mistake with all these. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay dearly for all the time you waste.”
_40 minutes later_
“What’s happening here?” Hutton asked as he walked into the computer room again.
All the men there seemed to be in panic as they seemed to have lost access to the footage they were streaming
Hutton turned to the man who was the leader of the computer team. “You told me they were not going to be able to disconnect us from the servers. Didn’t you?”
“Yes, we weren’t disconnected from the server. The cameras were turned off. The FOX must have done it,” the man answered Hutton.
“How long has it been disconnected for?”
“Just seven minutes ago,” the man answered.
Hutton turned to the man who spotted the FOX officials at the President’s previous locations. “What did you see until that time?”
“The entourage drove to the Presidential quarters and were about to leave the place when we got disconnected.”
“Are you sure they were going to leave with the President too?”
“I can’t tell sir, but the whole entourage was moving again before we lost access.”
Hutton turned to the team leader. “So that means we’re gonna have access to monitor the area anymore?”
“Ermm…Until they turn back on the CCTV. I tried keeping it on. But the FOX security system is strong. We can only break it if we have an inside man there.”
“What if we don’t,” Hutton questioned.
The man shook his head in silence.
Hutton dipped his hand into his back pocket and took out his pistol.
The team leader widened his eyes in shock and raised his hand to surrender.
“I swear, boss. I did everything I could to keep us connected.”
“Everything you did was obviously not f***ing enough to keep us,” Hutton slammed before firing a bullet straight into the man’s forehead.
He cleaned the mouth of his pistol with a handkerchief before returning it to his pocket.
“Take care of the body,” he said and marched out of the room.
“What does this mean for us?” Kahn asked Hutton after the latter explained the disconnection to him.
He was still in the gurney where he was being treated for the wounds incurred from the explosion.
“It means nothing if we can get the accurate information from Maria,” Hutton replied. “We also have men onsite monitoring the movement of the FOX but the FOX may likely outsmart them.”
“Carl Winston and his team are aware of Maria’s involvement with us, it might be difficult for her to get this kind of information we require now.”
“I don’t care,” Hutton replied. “She or Michael should have recruited someone else that can penetrate easily.”
“But we’re here now, and they don’t have someone else to penetrate. What do we do?”
“They have to find it someway, somehow. Otherwise, both of them are useless to us and they’ll have to be eliminated,” Hutton said before proceeding to the door.
Kahn kept his squinted eyes on Hutton until he got to the door. Hutton looked so calm and reserved even when it seemed like their execution could fail.
It could only mean one thing – Hutton was sure that it was going to be executed.
“Hey! Where the f*** have you been?” Michael barely allowed Maria to enter the place before slamming her. “I thought I told you to resume as early as possible.”
“I’ve got to be careful to meet you, sir. If anyone sees us, we’re damned,” Maria scoffed.
“Have you gotten anything from the team yet?” Michael tried to say in a calmer tone.
“No,” she replied. “No one is telling me anything but I’ve been working.”
“What the f***!” Michael couldn’t believe his ears. “We’re running out of time to execute our plans. If it fails because of the two of us, we will be in trouble.”
“I’m doing what I can do, Agent.”
“Do more!” Michael slammed at her.
Maria shook her head in regret. Maybe she should have never agreed to work with him, she thought. Maybe she should have just reported to the FOX that he was trying to blackmail her and received the punishment instead.
“You’re a part of the team because we need you to find useful information for us,” Michael continued. “If you don’t get it, then you’re useless to us.”
Maria felt hurt by his words but managed not to give a reply.
After a few seconds, she spoke. “What exactly do you need from me?”
“Vital information, Maria. Vital information!”
“Vital information about what? Can you be specific?”
Michael gasped and shook his head. He took in a deep breath and then stared straight into her eyes. “Tell us where they took the President to.”
“I thought I’d given you that information already.”
Michael squinted at her face. “You didn’t know that they’re moving him from there already?”
“Moving him?” Maria looked confused. “Who’s moving him.”
“Come on, your damn team is moving him. Mark, Steve, and Evelyn are in charge. They moved him first from his previous location to the Presidential Villa and they might have also moved him out to another location.”
Maria looked lost for a moment. “I had no knowledge that he was going to be moved. The only thing I knew was that we tried to track the Vice President’s call yesterday and failed.”
“Now that you know, can you get me some information in the next thirty minutes?” Michael asked impatiently. “Can you get Steve to release the information to you?”
Maria stared thoughtfully for some seconds. “They have reasons to believe that the explosion will take place today, it will be difficult to get Steve to say anything to me. He’s gonna suspect me if I perturb him,” she paused. “But I think I can get you vital information in less than thirty minutes.”
“How are you gonna do that?”
“I installed a bug on the Chairman’s phone while he was in the situation room yesterday. I’ll check his locations and should be able to find where they put the President.”
“Good job,” Michael commended. “Please send it to me once you get it.”
“I don’t know why I have this feeling that something could still happen to the President,” Steve remarked as he and Evelyn walked together with the Chairman to the situation room.
“They’re gonna be targeting the Presidential Villa and the previous location, Steve. No one, except the three of us here and the agents in charge of the President’s safety, knows his current location,” Mark replied.
Evelyn entered the situation room first and held the door for both men to walk in.
The three agents waiting in the situation room got up to salute the Chairman at his entrance.
“Gentlemen, we’re gonna get to work now,” Mark instructed as he walked to his seat at the front of the large screen. “I’ve given instructions for people in the Presidential Villa to evacuate the place in thirty minutes and the Red Wolves are going to see that. They might want to release the bomb earlier. The three of you will be in charge of monitoring these three locations while any of the three of us will supervise you. I want you to start working now. I want everything on the screen.”
“Understood sir!” The men replied in unison and then got to work immediately.
“I’ll be back in some minutes sir,” Evelyn excused herself from the room.
Hutton and his two men were already in the launching room which was located on the twentieth floor of the building. The explosive machine was larger than an armored tank but of a similar shape.
The launching room was a large one, covered by glass walls and windows on the side which the bomb will be released through. There was a large screen right on the machine which showed the configuration, especially the directions where the bombs were directed to. The explosion activator was just below the screen. All the fingerprints required had been collected on a small circular piece of metal which was going to be placed on the activator.
The device setup was complete already. Three locations had been set – the Presidential Villa, the President’s secret building where he previously was, and the safehouse provided by Maria. The three bombs were going to be released at the same time. Hutton was just waiting for the time.
By 10:41 AM, Hutton’s phone rang and he answered it immediately. Someone informed him that people were evacuating the Presidential Villa. He only replied with an ‘okay’ and ended the call.
Immediately, he dialed another number. “We leave immediately after we launch, be ready.”
At exactly 10:44 AM, Hutton grabbed the circular piece and tapped the activation button. He took on a deep breath as the time ticked. Ten seconds left to 10:45, he placed the circular piece on the activator and it beamed with light instantly.
The FOX Corporation, Bexford
Mark and Steve were standing right in front of the screen and watching the people evacuate the Presidential Villa. Evelyn walked back into the situation room after taking an excuse to leave the second time.
She stopped right beside Steve to join them looking at the screen. He glanced at her and noticed that she had taken off her suit jacket and repacked her hair. He wanted to give a compliment but the Chairman said something else first.
“The Red Wolves must be seeing this now. I’m sure Hutton must be trying to go faster now.”
Just right after he spoke, a bomb hit the Presidential Villa which they were currently viewing.
Even though they were expecting an explosion, it did not stop the shock on their faces. The whole place on the screen was covered with flames and smoke and they could barely see anything else.
After managing to catch his breath, the Chairman gave an order. “Can we see the other two locations on the screen right now?”
A few seconds after, the screen was divided into two but looked like the same scenes on both ends – flames.
“I need the two other locations!” the Chairman screamed.
“That’s what’s on the screen, sir,” one of the men behind stammered.
The three men on the computer also looked terribly shocked where they were sitting.
At first, Mark thought he didn’t hear what was said. He turned quickly to look at the two men responsible for the two locations he requested for.
“I want your locations on the screen, why are you showing me the same Presidential Villa.”
“Those are our locations sir,” the second man got up to answer. “The explosions took place at the three locations.”
At that moment, Mark felt something grip his heart.